Tool and Gilmour… with some Soen thrown in…
Released through UDR Music on 3 February 2017 and given the once over by Jason Guest
I enjoyed Soen’s 2012 debut album Cognitive. 2014’s Tellurian not so much. Though the first album had Tool written all over it, it was still a good record, but Tellurian showed little sign of development. The Tool influence still dominated their sound, a number of riffs, even whole songs, could have been lifted from Tool’s back catalogue. Great musicians one and all, here was a clearly adept band with a keen ear for melody, harmony and rhythm. But where was the band’s own voice? Their own identity?
2017 and album number three, Lykaia, is upon us. Yep, the Tool influence is still dominant, but this time there’s not just a nod in their direction, it’s more a head-butt. And not just Tool. There are lead guitar lines and vocal melodies lifted straight off of David Gilmour’s latest releases (‘Lucidity’ may as well be a cover of ‘Remember That Night’ from his 2006 solo album On An Island) as well as riffs and structures that could easily sit on a Lopez-era Opeth album. There are times – moments – when the band seems to be allowing themselves to shine through but they quickly return to the shadows of their influences. In a 2012 interview, drummer Lopez said that he considers Tool “not only a band but a genre”. And though he may consider that a valid justification for the band’s approach, (despite fans (im)patiently waiting for a new album) we’ve already got Tool.
They’ve got a great drummer in Lopez; bassist Stenberg knows how to flesh out the low end with might and melody; guitarist Jidell and guitarist/keyboardist Åhlund take full advantage of the solid foundation that the rhythm section provides to explore the full spectrum that their instruments afford; and vocalist Ekelöf has got a way with words, a great voice and a great range. We’ve heard Tool. We’ve heard David Gilmour and we’ve heard Pink Floyd. And we’ve heard the other band’s that have had a clear and distinct impression on this band – Yes, Gabriel-era Genesis, Opeth, etc. It’s time we heard more of Soen.
6 out of 10